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Dhalo - Traditional Goan Folk Dance

6 Traditional Goan Folk Dances (2024)

Being a land of diverse religions and cultures, it is not much surprising to know that the country of India has a wide range of variety in terms of art, music, and dance too. No matter whichever place you go to in the country, almost each and every region has its own unique folk music and dances. If you are someone who wishes to look closely and understand the culture of a place in the country, then listening to their folk music or watching a folk – dance performance is the best way to do so. If the place you are talking about is the state of Goa, then you have stumbled across just the right link. The traditional folk dances of Goa are designed in a way to reflect the mindset and lifestyle of the local people of the state. If you watch a Goa folk dance performance, then you will literally be able to see their rich historical and cultural legacy is reflected in it. As you would already be aware that the state of Goa is a unique amalgamation of a variety of cultures and the Goan folk dance portray this blend of different faiths and cultures very beautifully. If you wish to know more about the popular folk dances of Goa, then we have already done the work for you.

6 Traditional Goan Folk Dances

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1. Dhalo

Dhalo - Traditional Goan Folk Dance

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This is one of the most popular rural folk dances of Goa. Most of the time, on special occasions or on festivals, you will find the dhalo is the choicest dances of the women dwelling in the rural area of the state. Apart from that, the main occasion when this dance is performed by women is on a moonlit December night. Almost a dozen of women assemble together in the courtyard of a house after having dinner and dance to folk songs which are woven with many religious as well as social themes. All in all, this folk dance is full of fun and frolic. Watching a live performance will be a great choice.

  • How is the dance performed? Specifically talking about how this folk dance of Goa is choreographed and performed, then in dhalo folk dance, young girls and women of the rural household gather together in the form of a semi-circle by joining their hands behind each other’s waists. Once they achieve this position, they then sway in well-coordinated movements on the beats of the rural musical instruments or the folk music.

2. Dekhni

Traditional Goan Folk Dance-Dekhni

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This is another popular folk dance of Goa which you will come across various places in the state. Talking about the unique name of the dance form, the word Dekhni literally translates to bewitching beauty in the Konkani language. The Dekhni dance is basically considered as the traditional folk dance of those Christian individuals who originally belonged to Hinduism but during Portugal, rule converted into Christianity. According to history and traditions, these people are credited for composing this traditional folk dance of Goa. Moreover, you will be pleased to know that the music of this dance form is actually a lovely confluence of rhythm and melody belonging to both Indian as well as Western genres.

  • How is the dance performed? The dance performance usually starts with a beautiful lady who is later joined by other dancers gradually. Another interesting thing about this dance form apart from its history is that it also involves the people performing to sing.

3. Fugdi

Goan Traditional Folk Dance-Fugdi

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As we talk about the popular folk dances of Goa, one can probably not miss out on mentioning Fugdi dance. Also known as Foogdi, this is one of the traditional dances of Goa which is immensely popular, especially among the womenfolk of the state. It is said that this dance style is devoted to the Hindu God, Lord Ganesha. Also, this dance does not require any specific occasion or a particular festival to be formed. People perform this dance anytime to express their happiness or their faith in God. However, mostly this folk dance is known to bright up the months of August and September in the state. If you are wondering what is the story behind the weird name of the dance form, then it is named so because of the exuberant ‘foo’ sound that is made when the dancers try to match the rhythm by blowing air through their mouths.

  • How is the dance performed? Though this folk dance of Goa is quite popular it is not as easy as it seems. This dance form requires the performers to continue swirling until one eventually gets completely exhausted and sits down.

4. Kunbi Dance

Traditional Goan Dance-Kunbi Dance


This is one of the earliest discovered folk dances of Goa. It is a dance form that was mainly performed by the early settlers of Goa. This folk dance is even named after the early settlers who were known as ‘Kunbis’. They are basically a sturdy tribal community that mainly reside in the Salcete taluka region of the state. The folk songs, as well as folk dances of this community, usually belong to the pre – Portuguese era. They have more of a social element in themselves rather than the religious sentiments. As far as the performers of the Kunbi dance are concerned, this dance form is performed by the women dancers of the tribe. For performing this dance, the women dancers dressed in their traditional attire which adds color and life to the dance form.

  • How is the dance performed? The performance for this Goa folk dance is a bit complicated because in it the women dancers have to move very elegantly when the music and rhythm at which the dance is performed has quite a fast pace.

5. Lamp Dance

Popular Goan Traditional Folk DanceLamp Dance

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Could balance a lit brass lamp on your head while dancing gracefully to music? No, we are not kidding, this is an actual folk dance of Goa. Balancing of the lamp is a crucial part of the performance and hence, even the dance form is named after the brass lamps that are used to perform the dance. Talking about the kind of music on which the Lamp Dace is performed, the music style is usually instrumental. A variety of folk instruments such as Ghumat, harmonium, cymbal, and Samael are used to bring the music to life. No matter how exciting or interesting this folk dance of Goa appears, but it really difficult. To perform this dance form, the dancers need to have an immense amount of self–control and disciple in order to balance the lamps and dance. A lot of preparations and rehearsals go behind the final performance.

  • How is the dance performed? To perform the Lamp dance, the dancers have to dance elegantly while slowly balancing the heavy brass lamps on the heads. Moreover, the lamps are lighted so, the dancers need to be all the more careful.

6. Goff

Famous Traditional Goan Dance-Goff

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If you were thinking that all of the folk dances of Goa were all about the religious celebration or social sentiment, then Goff dance will come as a pleasant surprise to you. Agriculture is one of the most significant occupations that is practiced throughout the country and the state of Goa is not an exception to this. This Goan dance is a way for the hard–working farmers and laborers to celebrate their efforts. You can understand the Goff dance form to be a celebration of a bountiful harvest that is celebrated by the farmers. A combination of colorful attires, a plethora of people, happiness, peppy music, and laughter, watching a Goff dance performance reflects the excitement of the people after a season of a good harvest.

  • How is the dance performed? Like the unique thought behind the dance form, its performance is a bit special too. The dance is performed in two phases. You will see that for performing the first phase of this folk dance, each dancer will be holding a colorful cord that hangs at the center of the mandor, the place where the performance takes place. The dancers then form an intricate braid with the help of the rest of the artists during the performance. Talking about the second phase of the Goff dance performance, you will now see that the dancers will move in a way opposite to the earlier phase, so as to unravel the intricate braid which they at first braided. At the end of the performance, after a masterful feat of coordination displayed by the dancers, all of the cords will be single once again.

Usually, when people think about Goa dances, their imagination usually ends up thinking about large crowds dancing only to the trance, techno, rock, or similar music styles. However, we will be pleased to break the news to you that the state has a rich culture and folk dances which are worthy of appreciation. The Goan dances extend much more beyond those late-night beach parties. Watching a Goan dance performance is a true delight!

FAQ’s For Tourists Visiting Goa

Q1. What are the popular folk music instruments of Goa?

Ans. Dhol, Tabla, Dholak, Shehnai, Tasso, Nagado, Tambura, Mridanga, and Ghuman are some of the popular instruments used in the folk music of Goa.

Q2. What is the best time to visit Goa?

Ans. For the best experience, visit the place between November and February.

Q3. How long should one stay in Goa?

Ans. The duration of a vacation varies depending upon people’s interests, but usually, people prefer spending 3 days in the state.

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